Becoming a marriage celebrant – what inspired me and why that’s great for you

I loved my wedding day.  The warmth and joy surrounding my partner and I was truly wonderful.  The venue and location were exactly what we wanted, the colour scheme was just as I pictured it, the food at our reception was delicious and our photos are magnificent. 

The ceremony wasn’t too long or too short, it included readings and music, it went too fast and as a memory it certainly makes me smile, but it didn’t celebrate us. The process of putting together our wedding words was not a joyful one.   It didn’t bring us together as a couple, we were not encouraged to explore what parts of the ceremony we actually wanted, and it didn’t include any words about our journey together. We just chose some words from examples given and we wrote our vows. 

In the lead up to our wedding day I had a feeling of what I wanted for our ceremony but did not have the words or know the right questions to ask to bring any unique elements or symbols into our ceremony.

Stepping out of my fulltime executive role to have our first baby, I decided to study to become a celebrant.  My drive was to work with couples not only to complete the legal documents but to create their ceremony that celebrated their unique love story. 

I knew my experience in listening, questioning and presentation skills perfected throughout my career in human resources, event management and administration roles I could help couples create the ceremony they dreamed of. Taking time to chat to couples about their journey to understand what was important to them.  I could then write a ceremony weaving in the couples own unique love story – not just stating what the world defines love to be but what the love for each other means to them.

A great celebrant can reflect your relationship in your ceremony working with your theme and overall vibe of your wedding day.  I love working with couples to understand the story that bought them together.  Then writing the script around that journey from ‘when I first saw him/her’ to ‘I knew I loved her when’ and ‘he proposed while we were …’. 

Over the years I have found a lot of couples want some sort of traditional element in their ceremony and that is ok as well.  Again by my questioning techniques I really get to understand the thoughts going around in your head, give you the courage to ask for what you want and work with you to create your ceremony.

As an authorised marriage celebrant, I want couples to reflect on their ceremony loving the way their story was told and celebrated.  I want couples to listen with enjoyment to the retelling of their story. Understanding and writing your ceremony, creating a lifelong memory is what makes me tick.  It excites me to have your guests walk away smiling knowing they have heard and witnessed your love story, your journey as a couple. It is truly an honour to be present at such a special moment in your lifetime.

I love celebrating, I love being part of  your significant life event … but I especially love when my couple’s say to me “Nadine the ceremony told our story, it captured us and that is exactly what we wanted – thank you”.

16 year wedding anniversary

Today is my 16th wedding anniversary. We will celebrate the day in isolation at home with our 2 beautiful daughters … possibly with an UberEats delivery for dinner tonight!  Although we are in mandatory isolation due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic we are still celebrating this milestone.

I loved our wedding day – the sun was shining like it is today and we were surrounded by family and friends. Would I change any of it … yep! Would I plan to do the same things again … yes I would.  It was our day, celebrating the love we have for each other the way we wanted to.

On that day 16 years ago, we didn’t know the joys and challenges we had ahead of us.  But really, I couldn’t imagine celebrating the joys and tackling the struggles with anyone else.  Love you Dave.

Getting married in Australia

I’m often asked about what the ‘rules’ are around getting married, especially with the recent changes to legislation around marriage equality. I’ve put together the following key points. Your celebrant should be able to discuss these further with you if there are any questions.

To be married in Australia you must:

  1. Not be already married to another person
  2. Understand what marriage means and agree to marry of your own free will
  3. Be at least 18 years or older – unless a court has approved for the wedding to take place between one person 18 years or older and one person between 16-18 years old
  4. Not be marrying your parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent or grandchild
  5. Include the mandatory words in your wedding ceremony
  6. Complete a Notice of Intended Marriage form at least one month prior to your intended wedding date; this document can be completed up to 18 months in advance
  7. Your celebrant must sight your original birth certificates or valid passport, divorce or death certificates where relevant and photo ID

To get married in Australia you do not have to be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia.  All required documents prior to marriage can be submitted electronically to your celebrant of choice.  If you are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident and want to live in Australia after your wedding you will need to apply for a Visa.

If you would like to get married in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Hunter Valley, or Port Stephens areas of Australia give me a call or e-mail and I can guide you through the process.

You’ve changed – butterflies in my logo

I came across this picture recently.  Just love it.  It captures the exact reason why I chose to include butterflies in my company logo. 

You’ve changed … we are meant to

Life is a journey.  We are forever moving forward.  None of us can rewind a moment, day, event or time.  As we experience life we gather life experiences.


Celebrating 15 years!

This year I celebrate 15 years of being a Marriage Celebrant … and yes I’m celebrating!

Over the years I have conducted hundreds of ceremonies – weddings, baby namings, renewal of vows and commitment ceremonies.

It thrills me that each and every ceremony is so different. 

Physically different in location, different with the theme, some very extravagant and others as low key and simple as you can possibly imagine and obviously uniquely different, driven by each person’s personality.  One thing has been consistent in every ceremony I have conducted and that is the love … love for each other … love for the child we are naming and the love felt in the ceremony space. 

Yes, there have been challenges over the years.  The groom and groomsmen forgot the rings … we borrowed the two grandmothers wedding rings and made up appropriate words on the fly … there were tears when those rings were exchanged.

The bride arriving at the ceremony space after looking gorgeous walking down the rosebush aisle, said to me ‘Nadine, I am going to be sick’ and I just gently turned her shoulders into the rosebush near by while she vomited.  Taking a break and regrouping after a glass of water … we conducted the ceremony and I know 10 years later that couple have delightfully survived the test of time.

The grooms who forgot their wedding corsages.  That ceremony was conducted in Centennial Park, Cooks Hill.  Across the road was a beautiful garden with spectacular flowers.  I sent the groomsmen across the road to knock on the door and request 4 flowers.  They came back with not only the flowers but pins to attach the flowers to their jackets. 

The Friday I received a call from another celebrant to say she was off by ambulance to hospital.  Collecting the necessary paperwork from her house on my way to King Edward Park, I arrived with plenty of time to introduce myself to the groom, quickly talk through the ceremony and then meet the bride in her arrival car before walking down the aisle.   That bride and groom were very grateful, their family thrilled with the ceremony I conducted and after a short stay in hospital the original celebrant was discharged to rest at home.

Like a lot of other professions – you could write a book with the experiences gathered over the years.  But really I just bring the learning from every ceremony and share it with the next.  Creating a stress free environment on the day of the wedding, naming or renewal of vows.

It is very important to me to stay current with ceremony trends.  Each year I have attended professional development training and the odd conference.  This year I have joined The Celebrant Society who value community over competition and the sharing of trends, words, and advice is very real with this group.  I also subscribe to UK and USA wedding sites to see what trends might be hitting Australia next season.

Love my job.  Love the smiles on people’s faces as they acknowledge and take the time to celebrate a significant life event.